Of all the mirrorless cameras currently available as a part of the highly esteemed Sony’s Alpha series lineup, the A6500 and the A7III are without a doubt two of the most talked-about pieces of gear this year. Even though both counterparts strike the perfect balance between price and image quality, they differ in terms of sensor size and features, which makes it difficult for some folks to decide which one would be the better fit for them.
To put things into perspective, filmmaker Sidney Diongzon provides his insight on the topic by putting both cameras through their paces to figure out which one can produce better images when it comes to shooting both stills and video.
The first few rounds of testing compared the cameras’ image quality, both in 4K and 1080p. To ensure a fair comparison, Diongzon decided to match camera settings as closely as possible, in addition to using the same lens on both cameras – the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM.
After a quick evaluation of the provided clips, it becomes evident that the full-frame sensor of the A7III gives its images several advantages over the footage captured by the A6500. Besides the fact that the A7III can produce clips with a shallower depth of field due to its bigger sensor, the camera also has a slightly better dynamic range with more detail in the highlights and shadows, compared to the A6500. This result is very prevalent in the outdoor shots, especially when looking at the light hitting the top of the stone wall and statue.
Furthermore, you can tell from both the video and photo samples that the A7III is slightly sharper than the A6500. This observation is also true even when shooting with APS-C lenses on the A7III, wherein the megapixel count is even lower than the A6500 in crop mode.
Besides overall sharpness, color science is a significant factor in analyzing image quality as well. Because the A7III is a newer camera than the A6500, it takes advantage of Sony’s updated color science. So, no wonder that the A7III produces images with better true-to-life color accuracy than its sibling.
The A7III also has the upper hand in terms of slow-motion capabilities. If you take a look at the overcranked clips, you’ll notice that the A7III has slightly more detail in the waterfall while the A6500 succumbs to some noticeable aliasing and blurring.
The low-light testing yielded similar results where the A6500 does seem to clip highlights at higher ISOs than the A7III, in addition to producing slightly more noise in the shadows.
In terms of rolling shutter and in-body image stabilization (IBIS), the performance of the A6500 is more than comparable to the A7III. However, the extra weight of the bulkier build of the newer camera helps in producing a more stable video.
When it comes to autofocus performance at various sensitivity settings, the A6500 surprisingly outperforms the A7III, despite possessing older autofocus technologies. In the tests, the A6500 was able to respond faster to changes in focus and switch between points much more promptly.
The final test was aimed at comparing the preamps and audio quality from each camera – both using the internal microphone as well as the Rode VideoMic Pro. Overall, the A7III produced a much fuller sound while the A6500 audio recording seemed more focused on mids and highs, somewhat neglecting lower-end frequencies.
Overall, base on these particular tests, the A7III turned out to be the better camera when compared to the A6500. Not only does the full frame sensor of the A7III provides nicer-looking images, but also its larger sensor, improved ergonomics, and updated design make the camera an appealing option for content creators fond of full-frame shooting.
However, just because the A7III may outperform the A6500, you should not discount the latter from consideration by any means. For a much lower price, the A6500 delivers images just as good as the A7III in a more compact form-factor which seems to be the perfect fit for travel videographers who demand the utmost in video quality, or for those filmmakers working on a budget who look for a reliable B-cam for their productions.